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girls volleyball

A bright future for Mascenic

Mascenic loses 3-0 to top seeded Campbell

Entering Saturday night’s quarterfinals match-up at top ranked Campbell, the Mascenic girls volleyball team had a big challenge standing in front of them.

In the regular season, the Vikings had played Campbell on two occasions and both ended in 3-0 losses. But coming off a narrow and thrilling 3-1 win over Epping in the first round of the Division III tournament on Thursday, Mascenic seemed ready for another crack at the undefeated Cougars, who stood at 17-0 after defeating Wilton-Lyndeborough in the preliminary round.

The Vikings really had nothing to lose. As the eighth seed, they were an underdog entering the quarterfinal match-up on the home floor of the best team in Division III. And while Saturday finished just like the first two, with a 3-0 loss, the final score doesn’t tell the whole story. The Vikings were in each game, but just failed to pull off a win. They fell 25-20 in game one, 25-15 in the second and again 25-20 in the final game.

But Mascenic is not alone. Campbell only lost seven individual games this season, while sweeping 11 of 16 opponents in the regular season. The Vikings became the second such victim in the playoffs to go along with WLC.

I got the opportunity to watch Mascenic’s first round match and it is a shame this team does not get to play any longer. They were a fun group to watch. It was only the second time I had seen them this fall, but it was much more captivating than the first.

You could tell this group was ready for postseason play. They were pumped up to defend their home floor for the last time in 2012 and the crowd provided a nice boost. The first time I ever saw a Mascenic girls volleyball team play was back in 2006 in the semifinals and the Vikings’ fans were loud and energetic, much like they were on Thursday. It was nice to see the crowd that into it. It really felt like a playoff match.

And it should with Mascenic securing the eight seed and Epping just one spot back. One win is all that separated the two squads so it was little surprise at how close it actually was.

The Vikings took game 25-16, but then lost the second in extra points, 26-24.

Game three also went into extra points and it was a Cheyanne Sauvola spike that clinched it by the same score. In the fourth, Mascenic proved to be just a little too much, winning 25-18.

In the regular season, the Vikings were very good. They were 11-5 overall and the losses all came against playoff teams. Outside of the two Campbell losses, two were versus fourth seeded Hillsboro-Deering, including one in five games, and the other was in five at WLC.

Mascenic won five straight to begin the season before back to back setbacks to Campbell and Hillsboro-Deering. Down the stretch, the Vikings won four of five to grab the eight seed and with it the final home playoff spot.

And while the loss of three seniors will make things a little different going into 2013, the Vikings still should be pretty good next year. Yes the overall ability of Casey Thoel will be greatly missed. Thoel did everything well. She was the team’s primary setter, could hit at the net and served with consistency. Katelynn Kelleher was a great defender and really improved on the front line this season, while Emy Veeser provided a nice boost off the bench.

But with juniors Elizabeth Martel and Sauvola returning for their senior seasons, along with sophomore Amber Salo and freshman Casey Wayrynen, Mascenic has most of its starting lineup coming back.

Hopefully they will keep the quarterfinal loss in mind this offseason because this group has the potential to be right back in the same situation next year, fighting for a trip to the final four.

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